Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Monday: Juneau to Skagway

On Monday morning we loaded up the car and hit the road...all four miles to the Ferry Terminal. Our boat was the Columbia which is the Alaska Marine Highway System's flag ship, sailing between Bellingham, WA and Skagway, AK every week.

The boat had lots space to roam around. A deck to pitch tents, a solarium to lay out on, a recliner lounge and 100 cabins. Amenities include a restaurant, snack bar and laundry room. The Columbia holds 500 passengers and over 100 vehicles.
We settled in the forward lounge where we met a family from Spokane and a 72 year old long haul truck driver from South Carolina. The truck driver was headed for a river raft tour and photography expedition. He was a talker and regaled us with tales. He explained that he preferred driving over the road rather than locally because he has three days free time to hit Yosemite, Arches, Canyonlands, etc. to take photos.

Eldred Rock Lighthouse
After passing four glaciers, three lighthouses, dozens of dall porpoises, a short stop in Haines, we arrived in Skagway. 120 miles - 7 hours. The weather was perfect, the sun was hot, the air was salty and the mountains surrounding the town were all out.

We found a campsite in the Pullen RV Park (which we DON'T recommend). And then wandered around town, watching the required Chilkoot trail video at the visitor's center, reading historial plaques and playing on the train cars. We walked out past the tourist area and enjoyed running into the missionaries.

At 10 pm we hit the sack under a light pole and next to Skagway's busiest street corner. I got up early and was amazed at the full moon hanging in the clear sky. At 5 am the train came grinding by.

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